It is always good to see local businesses thriving - particularly those you frequent regularly. It is even more encouraging where your advice has played a small part in their development.
Readers will recall that the 2017 Business Zen Business of the year was Monaghan's Barbershop - for reasons that are absolutely obvious every time you visit Sam and the team. This is more so now as you enter their stunning new location in the Rutland building - just next door to their old location.
When I am in the barber chair, it is all over pretty quickly - partly because of the eons-old battle of male vs male pattern baldness - but you can't help but be impressed by Sam Monaghan's vision and arrow-like dedication to achieving his goals. The new shop is testament to this.
A few weeks back Sam took me on a tour of the space, which was very much a work in progress, but as he described it framing and spaces quickly turned in the imagination into pictures of what he was looking to achieve to develop the space. Visiting the finished article, it is stunning how clear and accurate Sam's vision was - right down to the posters on the walls!
And the way in which the entire, expanded team complements the look and feel - and service - which is delivered with a slick precision and a personalised touch.
Last Saturday afternoon I was in town with Junior Bell and it was really cool to see his reaction to the new premises. "Wow, Dad, that looks so awesome." I asked him what three things impressed him the most - 1) the barbers' chairs all arranged in the same way, with a clean cloth on the arm rest, 2) the antique barber's chair in the window and 3) the leather couch.
From a planning standpoint, those three things speak to 1) attention to detail (quite important when it comes to style and presentation for hair), 2) the reviving of an old-time tradition (with a modern feel) and the quality of service, and 3) the customer experience (evolving positively as the business grows and improves itself). Young Mr Bell wants to get his hair cut ASAP (even though he was one of the last customers in the old location) "because I really like it there".
And this is the lesson for all business in these modern times - it is all about experience, regardless of whether you are in a field that could be digitised or not. Create the venue, build a culture of customer care with best-in-class service and growth will follow. This is how a business steeped in such history reaches out tothe Fortnite generation.
So, like Junior Bell, I am going to attend to my "hairstyle" early this month, if for nothing else than to experience the great service and step back in time with the most modern of business models. Congratulations, Sam and team, on the new digs and the success which is sure to follow!